What the Funk?

How does a person stay funky?
It's a question that has plagued man ever since way back in the late '70s. Funk comes and goes, you see. You may have the funk one minute, then the next, you're about as funk-free as an episode of Frasier.

There are the basic, vital requirements you need to preserve your lifetime dosage of funk. As a fan, you got to have the works of the masters: George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Lakeside and Cameo. You can even go deep and pick up some obscure works from Brick, Slave, LTD, The Fatback Band and anything that features a guest shot by Bootsy Collins. (Personally, if you want your funk to stay funky and still have a nice glow, you can never go wrong with an Ohio Players album.) Next, you need to find out if any act who fits the true definition of funk is coming to your town so you can recharge. Luckily, a cadre of funkmasters is coming down here to funk right into the next century at the Millennium Funk Fest.

Now, the list of artists who will be performing may not be in the upper echelon of funk, but they'll get the job done. The Time, featuring the funk-filled flamboyance of Morris Day, will hopefully be intact so the band can drop more than "Jungle Love." (Please, oh, please, let's hope they break out the trademarked pantie-dropper "Weak in the Knees.") And next in line is The Gap Band, who is to funk what Dame Judi Dench is to frigid old queens. You can always count on Charlie Wilson and his boys to get down to the bare essentials of funk with such numbers as "Outstanding," "Early in the Morning" and the timeless funk standard "You Dropped a Bomb on Me."

The S.O.S. Band, Con Funk Shun and Kool & The Gang (who owes us Houstonians a concert since it was a no-show at this year's Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo) round out the rest of this knockout lineup. If you fear your funk is getting stale (and there is a likelihood that it is), walk ... no, run and pick up a ticket to this show so you can stock up. As a great practitioner of funk once said, if you fake the funk, your nose will grow.

-- Craig D. Lindsey

The Majic 102 Millennium Funk Fest featuring Morris Day & The Time, The Gap Band, The S.O.S. Band, Con Funk Shun and Kool & The Gang will take place on Sunday, April 18, at the Compaq Center, 10 Greenway Plaza. Show starts at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $28. For info, call (713)629-3700.

The Pointer Sisters -- Okay, here's an anecdote: When I was seven years old, the sisters Pointer had this up-tempo, electro-beat number out called "Automatic," and I was virtually mesmerized by how Ruth Pointer, the beefy-yet-motherly Pointer, sounded so much like a dude on the track. Then the trio performed the song on Soul Train, and, during that little postperformance interview with Don "I'm So Cool I Piss Ice Cubes" Cornelius, she said her voice wasn't digitally or technically enhanced; it was all her getting her butch on. I was flabbergasted, impressed and not to mention a little turned on. (Hey, I was seven, but I was still a growing boy.) Why the hell am I telling this utterly pointless story? Because you can't tell me every time a Pointer Sisters song pops up on the radio, you don't have a fond memory, too. Sure, the sisters haven't had a hit since "Neutron Dance" back in '84. But come on -- haven't these gals been with you through thick and thin? Haven't they cradled your fragile ass all these years with such satisfying soul-pop hits as "He's So Shy" or "Slow Hand" or "I'm So Excited"? Probably? Maybe? But in whatever case, you get my point. The Pointer Sisters perform Saturday, April 17, at the Aerial Theater at Bayou Place, 520 Texas Avenue. Show starts at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 and $75. Call (713)629-3700 for more information. The show benefits the Briarwood School. (Craig D. Lindsey)

 
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